Shipbuilder Vigor picks Vancouver for Army landing craft manufacturing

Vigor, a Portland-based shipbuilder with footprints in Washington and Oregon, delivered a massive boost to Vancouver’s riverfront industry Friday, announcing it has chosen the city to build a new generation U.S. Army landing craft under a nearly $1 billion contract.

Work at the Vancouver site in the Columbia Business Park is expected to begin in May or June, with other Vigor marine building preceding the Army project. About 200 skilled laborers will be hired initially; up to 200 more could be working at the site when it is fully operational.

Vigor will invest millions in capital upgrades and equipment to the site, company officials said.

The Portland-based company announced in late 2017 it had won the Army contract, which, at $979,390,000 over 10 years, is the largest in Vigor’s history. A search for a building location then ensued.

The project calls for construction of the Army’s landing craft called Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) or MSV(L). Projects now underway at Vigor’s company in Ballard — Vigor Kvichak — will shift to Vancouver. The Ballard facility will close.

Portland, Seattle and other locations in Washington were considered for the Army project and other Kvichak-acquired work. Vancouver appears to have emerged as a candidate only in recent months, and city officials didn’t know the company’s intentions for certain until this week.

Frank Foti, Vigor CEO, in an interview with The Columbian, praised Vancouver’s travel brochure-worthy charms and a quality manufacturing site for choosing the city.

“The quality of life is excellent in Vancouver,” said Foti, who owns a home in the city. “There is a culture of openness and friendliness that really draws you. There is great access to both rural and suburban living, which appeals to a great number of our craftspeople.”

Vigor representatives approached Vancouver officials “recently,” said City Manager Eric Holmes, one of three officials in Clark County privy to talks with the company as it made its decision.

“This is really fantastic,” Holmes said. “Not only does it bring these kinds of manufacturing jobs to Vancouver, it does so under the umbrella of a 10-year government contract. We capitalized on our status as a riverfront community, and it reflects on the ship building heritage we have in Vancouver.”

Holmes and Vigor officials discounted the influence of financial incentives in the company’s decision.

The city manager said Vigor received the same incentives that would be offered to any prospective industrial recruit, such as a cap on building permit fees and expedited permit processing. Also, the city would assist Vigor in trying to obtain the necessary approvals to build a dock in the future, Holmes said.

A Vigor spokeswoman said the company would seek an unspecified amount from Washington’s Economic Development Strategic Reserve Account to assist with the expenses of moving work to Vancouver.

Vigor, which is privately held with a mix of 2,300 union and non-union workers, has employees in several locations, including an existing site in Vancouver, its Portland headquarters and a 60-acre shipyard on Swan Island.

The company has previously done business in Oregon as Vigor Industrial LLC and in Washington as Vigor Shipyards Inc.

Operating through its subsidiaries, Vigor builds and repairs ships and provides related vessel maintenance services including painting, blasting and coating. It also builds ocean and inland barges. Customers include cruise lines, ferry systems and oil companies.

Kvichak Marine Industries in Ballard laid the groundwork to acquire the huge Army contract in 2012, three years before it was acquired by Vigor, becoming Vigor Kvichak. On Friday, workers were informed their facility would close and its projects would move to Vancouver. The 70 workers affected at Kvichak — it’s named after a river in Alaska — were offered the opportunity to move to the Vancouver location.

Also Friday, about 60 of the 500 workers at Vigor’s factory in Clackamas, Ore., were told their aluminum fabrication jobs would move to Vancouver. They, too, were offered the opportunity to follow their job to Vancouver, Foti said.

The Vancouver site will begin construction of the Army landing craft prototype this summer. Once the prototype is completed and testing and refinements have occurred, another 36 vessels will be built.

In addition to the Army landing craft production, the site will also be used to continue Vigor’s ongoing production of the Combatant Craft Medium for the U.S. Navy as well as for U.S. allies, the Response Boat-Medium for the U.S. Coast Guard and export market, Vigor Fast Interceptor, aluminum fast ferries and commercial workboats.

Vigor representatives contacted Vancouver officials at the end of November after learning of a potential site in Columbia Business Park.

Foti said Vigor’s existing site in Vancouver, the former Oregon Iron Works nearby on the riverfront at the former World War II-era Kaiser Shipyards, did not meet the needs for the aluminum-fabrication projects.

The site at 4400 S.E. Columbia Way in the Columbia Business Park is the former home of Christensen Yachts. Vigor is in the process of purchasing the site and the transaction is expected to be completed this summer.

Foti noted the marine heritage of the Christensen building in Friday’s news release.

“We are honored to carry forward the vision begun by (company founder) Dave” Christensen, Foti says in the release. “When I think of his alignment with the Vigor values of Truth, Responsibility, Evolution and Love, it’s Responsibility and Love that shine through. He stayed responsible to what he built, and his Love for the people who built amazing boats here was proven by Dave’s actions many times over.

“There’s a sign in the entry that reads, ‘Through these doors walk the finest boat builders in the world.’  The craftspeople of Vigor intend to honor that vision as we walk through those same doors every day,” Foti said.

Christensen died Oct. 15, 2018, years after having any connection with his namesake company, which has been embroiled in a lawsuit between members of the Christensen family and the company’s current owner, Tennessee investor Henry Luken. The parties reached a settlement earlier this week, according to court records, although the details of the settlement were not available.

Luken said on Friday that the Christensen Yachts business will continue at a new shipyard location near Tellico Lake, Tenn. Plans for the Tennessee facility were first announced in 2006, but according to a 2011 Columbian story, the company was hit hard by the recession starting in 2008 and had to halt construction of the second location. It never opened, Luken said, but he now plans to finish the site and move the company’s equipment over from the Vancouver shipyard.

“The company’s not closing down — I’m going to a facility that’s four times larger,” he said. “We’re moving probably 100 trucks of stuff from the West Coast to Tennessee.”

Vigor adds to Vancouver’s maritime history

Best remembered for the Kaiser Shipyards, Vancouver’s Columbia riverfront has a long maritime history.

The World War II-era operation was one of the defining institutions in Vancouver’s history, spawning a huge population and housing boom. The yard was along the Columbia River, just downstream from Marine Park; the old slipways are visible from an observation tower near the park’s boat launch.

Kaiser produced baby flattops, tank landing craft and Liberty ships. At its peak in December 1944, it employed 38,000 and led to creation of the Vancouver Housing Authority and such developments as McLoughlin Heights, Fruit Valley and Fourth Plain Village.

The WWII deal between the U.S. Maritime Commission and the Kaiser Co., a heavy-construction firm controlled by Henry Kaiser and his son Edgar, was signed Jan. 9, 1942. The first ship, the S.S. George Vancouver, was launched on July 4, 1942. The last ship was outfitted in May 1946.

Vancouver had been the site of a World War I shipyard as well, called the Standifer Shipyard, at what is now the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 1. That shipyard went out of business by 1921. Today the site is home to a restaurant, WareHouse ’23.

A company Vigor acquired, Oregon Iron Works, also took on marine projects in Vancouver. In 2002, Oregon Iron Works helped build an 85-foot Coast Guard craft under a $2.4 million subcontract.

New president takes reins at CREDC

New president takes reins at CREDC

The Columbia River Economic Development Council kicked off the new year by welcoming three members to its board of directors, along with the economic development organization’s new president, Jennifer Baker.

Baker most recently served as the deputy district director for the Portland office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and previously worked in multiple business and trade fields, including four years as an international trade specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be handing the reins over to Jennifer,” said Max Ault, who served as interim president in 2018. “2018 was a really busy year for us, and that momentum continues into 2019.”

Baker began her tenure Jan. 14, and the new board members were officially voted in at the council’s annual investor event at the ilani casino on Wednesday. Alan Hwang of ACH Marketing, Andy Lowery of RealWear, Kara Fox-LaRose of ilani and Tim Price of Yaculta were elected to three-year terms on the board.

The council’s board officers are: chair (2018-2019): Casey Wyckoff, LSW Architects; vice chair (2018-2019): Lisa Lowe, Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt; immediate past chair (2018-2019): Greg Seifert, Biggs Insurance Services; treasurer (2019): Lisa Dow, Columbia Bank; secretary (2019): Helen Devery, BergerABAM.

The event included a recap of the council’s progress on the Clark County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, a five-year strategic plan that the organization adopted in 2017, which focuses on three core goals: expand the existing business base, support people and create place.

In her closing remarks to CREDC investors, Baker said that 2019 would be a year of increased direct action, and she urged the members to reach out to her and share their stories, as well as reaching out to others in their networks and focus on asking the questions that will spur action.

Earlier in the day, The Columbian sat down for an interview with Baker at the council’s downtown Vancouver office to learn more about her plans for the CREDC. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Coming from the U.S. Small Business Administration, what was appealing about the CREDC and Clark County? What kind of opportunities did you see there?

I fully subscribe to the vision of the Clark County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, and that vision is to recognize Clark County as the most inclusive, healthy an amenity-rich community in the U.S.

Those values and the commitment and investment that I see from community members is palpable in the meetings I attended when I was an SBA employee, and certainly now that I’m president of the CREDC. Being a part of a community that’s so invested allows us to do great things.

How much interaction did you have with the CREDC prior to seeking out this role?

The CREDC was part of a consortium of partners who were administering a Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge grant several years back, and so I worked with Elizabeth (Scott), who is now our business development director, on the implementation of that grant.

What appealed to you about this position, and how will your background contribute to your job performance?

I would say that I’m resourceful and diplomatic, and I feel like I have a knack for asking the right kinds of questions to help bring awareness and drive decision making. The experience of having worked with big businesses on international trade issues and businesses as small as a food cart — that expanse of experiences is what I’ll draw on to be particularly creative and resourceful as I liaise with the board and the investor community in realizing the next steps for the economic development plan.

One of the things in particular that fuels me is when I can drive by a warehouse or a business that was able to grow by virtue of the help that’s been infused by an organization — in this case, CREDC — and know that there are people employed by virtue of the efforts of the community. That’s very gratifying, to be able to see the results in our community and to know that employment opportunities are being created.

Do you see this transition as a continuation of your more recent work with small businesses, or more of a transition back towards the kind of trade and commerce work you did prior to the Small Business Administration, or both?

I hope it’ll be both. Well, I know it will be both. Depending on the industry, the SBA defines a small business as anything with 500 employees or fewer. So ‘small’ tends to still be pretty large in the lens of the SBA. I’m not anticipating a huge vacillation, and harkening back to my commerce days, I certainly worked with some very large corporations, helping them with trade policy.

Clark County is doing well economically, but like the rest of the Portland region, there have been struggles with housing affordability and struggles for businesses to attract skilled labor. What can the CREDC do to help address these issues, and what are some of the other issues facing the county that you want to be able to play a hand in tackling?

Stemming from the CREDC vision, we’ve outlined three business goals. (The first is to) expand the existing business space, and that entails building out traded sector. (The second is) supporting people, so making sure that the Clark County workforce is gaining skills and capacity to be a collaborative partner with industry, and/or attracting workforce from outside of Clark County to bolster workforce where there happen to be specific needs.

The third prong of the plan is creating place, and we keep an eye on the lands available for development and coordinate with our city and county partners on that inventory. But another part of creating place is the quality of life factor; being able to reach out and share that Clark county has amazing natural amenities.

Whether that’s kayaking up in Ridgefield or taking a hike on trails around La Center, or taking a stroll around the Vancouver Waterfront, or walking through Main Street in Camas, or the old historic district in Battle Ground, there are so many amazing amenities that we can share about the quality of life here, and I think that will continue to attract top talent.

Clark County has a growing technology sector. What is it going to take to keep it growing and make the county competitive in the tech field?

That relates directly to the second two goals of the strategic plan, which are support people — helping to build a workforce that is capable of meeting the needs of the tech industry as they look to move to town — and creating place.

Tech industry salaries tend to be higher-end salaries, averaging around $102,000 annually, and oftentimes employees in tech firms want to move somewhere where they can work hard and play hard, and here you have a fusion of both.

The diversity of towns that are relatively proximal means that you can have employees who live in different towns depending on whether or not they really subscribe to an urban experience or if they want to have a wooded lot somewhere.

As you said, there are different cities here that are very diverse and the county overall has a lot of variation to it — so how do you balance the competing business interests? How do you find solutions that are going to fit with everybody in Clark County?

I think that really correlates back to the cities and their uniqueness. Each city has something distinct to offer that makes Clark County desirable and accessible and inviting. So I think in some ways it’s up to those who are exploring Clark County to see what really fits with their life philosophy, because I think we really offer a little bit of it all.

The CREDC has been very public about wanting to move forward on replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge. What role do you see the CREDC playing in trying to pick those discussions back up, and how can we avoid another stalemate?

CREDC has set up an I-5 corridor task force and we’re inviting city representatives, Port (of Vancouver) representatives and regional transportation representatives to the table. (A new bridge) really will help connect Clark County to the rest of the West Coast more fluidly, and Clark County internationally. We’re pleased that Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a $17.5 million budget line item for an I-5 project office.

Coalescing the voices of the business industry and emphasizing the importance of transportation infrastructure to traded sector will help inform the dialogs to come. I think we have a huge commitment on behalf of interested parties to help share our story and help share the benefits of an optimized I-5 project.

Are there any other large-scale projects that the business community or the CREDC see Clark County as needing right now?

Investment in people is one of the key investments. I know I’m transitioning from infrastructure to workforce, but one of the common themes we hear from business owners in Clark County is that they’re really having to be effortful to find the right workforce contributors to grow their businesses, so I think continued investment in skilled labor and STEM — those will all be important ingredients to building out the most competitive economy.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about the job, or to introduce yourself to residents and business owners in Clark County?

The community has been very welcoming so far, and I’m so excited to be out and about and hearing people’s stories; their experiences building a business or resourcing business components or trying to explore new markets and troubleshoot parts of the supply chain. I think hearing those stories and being able to translate them into opportunity for other businesses and for businesses outside of the community will be really valuable.

CREDC Announces 2019 Officers and New Board Members

VANCOUVER, Wash. (January 24, 2019) – Yesterday, at its annual investor meeting, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) elected their new members to serve on the 2019 Board of Directors. At a special Board meeting immediately following, the new Board moved to elect its 2019 officers and private sector Executive Committee members.

“I look forward to continue working with the CREDC Board. The new directors elected today round up an amazing group of leaders who are committed to the betterment of our community,” said Casey Wyckoff, principal of LSW Architects and board chair of CREDC. “We are eager to continue advancing the work of CREDC, helping develop a strong and innovative Clark County.”

CREDC’s Board of Directors for 2019 are:

-Chair (2018-2019): Casey Wyckoff, LSW Architects
-Vice Chair (2018-2019): Lisa Lowe, Schwabe , Williamson & Wyatt
-Immediate Past Chair (2019-2019): Greg Seifert, Bigss Insurance Services
-Treasurer (2019): Lisa Dow, Columbia Bank
-Secretary (2019): Helen Devery, BergerABAM

The following individuals were elected to serve a three-year term on the CREDC Board of Directors:

1 . Alan Hwang, ACH Marketing
2. Andy Lowery, RealWear
3. Kara Fox-LaRose, ilani
4. Tim Price, Yaculta

The following Directors Emeritus were elected to serve an additional one-year term:

1 . Brian Wolfe, Brian H. Wolfe, P.C.
2. Bryce Helgerson, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
3. Matt Krueger, PacTrust
4. Steve Horenstein, Horenstein Law Group

The following private sector members were elected to serve on the 2019 Executive Committee:

1 . Alan Garcia, NW Natural
2. Ben Bagherpour, SEH America
3. Bill Dudley, Landerholm, P.S.
4. Kevin Tapani, Tapani Inc.
5. Matt Krueger, PacTrust
6. Mei Wu, SmartRG
7. Michelle Erickson, Umpqua Bank

“I am energized by the strong group of community-minded individuals helping shape the direction of the organization,” said Jennifer Baker, president of CREDC. “I look forward to working closely with the current and newly elected board members to continue advancing the economic vitality of Clark County.”

The full list of the 2019 CREDC Board of Directors can be found HERE.


Since 1982, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) has served as Clark County’s leading economic development organization, connecting companies to the resources they need to expand or locate in the region. As a private-public partnership, we leverage the expertise and collaboration of over 150 investors and strategic partners to advance the economic vitality of Clark County while maintaining our exceptional quality of life.  

Monica Santos-Pinacho, Director of Communications, CREDC
(360) 567-3181,  

Jennifer Baker Named New President of CREDC


VANCOUVER, Wash. (January 7, 2019) – The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) announced today that its Board of Directors has named Jennifer Baker as president of the organization. In this role, Baker will be responsible for the development and execution of CREDC’s strategic direction, including overseeing administration, staff, funding, budget, and programs and initiatives, in addition to managing business support and recruitment activities. 

With a robust background leading economic development initiatives both in the U.S. and abroad, Baker joins CREDC most recently from the U.S. Small Business Administration, where she served as deputy director for Oregon and Southwest Washington. Previously, Baker held consultancy roles in Ethiopia and Vanuatu, where she helped lay the groundwork for economic policymaking and trade negotiations. She also spent four years with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. where her accomplishments included leading the Commerce delegation’s involvement in U.S.-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement negotiations. 

“We are thrilled to have someone of Jennifer’s caliber lead the organization,” said Casey Wyckoff, board chair of CREDC. “Jennifer brings a wealth of experience that will propel the team to new heights. I am confident Jennifer’s leadership will continue the strong momentum toward accomplishing the goals of our Economic Development Plan as we embark on year two of execution.”

Baker has been recognized for her outstanding performance with the Small Business Administration, where she also served as an advisory board member for the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs and the Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest. In 2017, she was peer-nominated to chair the Oregon Federal Executive Board of Directors and honored by the Office of Personnel Management for excellence in leadership. Baker holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Modern Languages from Pacific University and a Master of Arts in International Policy Studies from Monterey Institute of International Studies. 

“I am thrilled that I was selected to lead the CREDC team. I’m eager to engage with the staff and board members as we position our communities to manage current economic opportunities and future challenges optimally.” said Jennifer Baker, president of CREDC. “A considerable amount of effort went into creating the Clark County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, and there will be much work to do as we continue building out this vision into actionable channels. I pledge to represent CREDC with the high-level of professionalism and polish for which it is reputed, and I look forward to facilitating the strong collaboration and partnerships that help make Clark County an unparalleled place to live, work and play.”

Baker succeeds Max Ault, who has served as interim president since May 2018. She will begin her duties as President of CREDC on January 14, reporting directly to the organization’s Board of Directors. 


Since 1982, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) has served as Clark County’s leading economic development organization, connecting companies to the resources they need to expand or locate in the region. As a private-public partnership, we leverage the expertise and collaboration of over 150 investors and strategic partners to advance the economic vitality of Clark County while maintaining our exceptional quality of life.  


Monica Santos-Pinacho, Director of Communications, CREDC
(360) 567-3181, 

Gov. Inslee’s Interstate 5 Bridge Investment Will Support Continued Growth in Clark County, CREDC Establishes I-5 Bridge Replacement Task Force

VANCOUVER, Wash. (December 13, 2018) – Today, Governor Jay Inslee released details of his 2019-2021 budget proposal, which includes $17.5 million in funding to establish an I-5 bridge project office tasked with helping define a new project scope, evaluate the previous Record of Decision and re-establish vital partnerships that will lay the groundwork to ensure long-term success.

With a growing population and a rising number of businesses seeking to expand and locate in Southwest Washington, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is mobilizing its network of more than 200 business leaders and strategic partners to support a bridge project that provides a long-term solution to the mobility needs of Clark County, the metropolitan region and the entire West Coast.

To this end, CREDC recently formed the I-5 Bridge Replacement Task Force made up of business and public sector leaders across the County who will contribute the voice of the business community as this critical work moves forward. Aligned with the Clark County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, CREDC’s vision for the County is to be one of the most inclusive, healthy, and amenity-rich communities in the country. To accomplish this vision, it is critical that our transportation infrastructure accommodate our immediate needs and set us up for success as we continue on a rapidly growing trajectory.

“This move makes it clear that Governor Inslee sees the importance of advancing infrastructure solutions along the Interstate 5 corridor through Clark County.” said Max Ault, interim president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC). “This investment is a critical step to continue growing Washington’s economy and strengthen Clark County’s competitive advantage at a national and global scale.”   

“We thank Governor Inslee for his leadership on this critical infrastructure project, and stand ready to assist him, his staff and the Washington Legislature.” said Steve Horenstein and Page Phillips Strickler, co-chairs of the CREDC I-5 Bridge Replacement Task Force. “As this project moves forward, we look forward to be a resource as representatives of the business community.”

“Thank you to Governor Inslee for his support and leadership in moving this nationally significant infrastructure project forward,” said Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle. “Replacement of the Interstate 5 bridge will support long-term economic development in the region and address the congestion and safety problems that increasingly impact our community and the region overall. Opening the I-5 bridge project office is a significant step forward in advancing this critical project.”

"Governor Inslee displayed great leadership today. Showing a willingness to re-engage in this project sends a loud and clear message that it is an economic life-line, not only between Oregon and Washington, but also to the region and the country.” said Tim Schauer, president of MacKay & Sposito. “Our future, both from an economic lens and a livability lens, depends on a new multi-modal bridge connecting the states.”

“It is critically important for us to focus on all the current transportation challenges, this includes both the river crossing challenge and the overall flow of traffic on both sides of the river. It is affecting local businesses in many ways.” said Kevin Tapani, vice president and chief financial officer of Tapani Inc. “I believe if all parties work together for the good of the whole, the challenges can be overcome, and we can move forward to strengthen our communities.”

About Columbia River Economic Development Council

Serving Clark County since 1982, CREDC is a private-public partnership of over 150 investors and partners working together to advance the economic vitality of Clark County, Washington. Through collaborative leadership, CREDC promotes job creation and capital investment while maintaining the County’s exceptionally high quality of life.  


Monica Santos-Pinacho, Director of Communications, CREDC
(360) 567-3181,  

Request for Proposals: Employment Land Study Update

Proposals due: December 7, 2018

The Columbia River Economic Development Council (“CREDC”) is seeking responses to this Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for the purpose of evaluating and selecting a consultant or team of consultants to provide an update to its 2016 Employment Land Study of Clark County, Washington (the “Land Study”). Responses to this RFP will be evaluated by a selection committee who will independently score each proposal based on the criteria set forth in this solicitation. Finalists with the highest aggregate score will be considered for interviews. Following interviews, the CREDC anticipates the selection committee will invite a finalist to enter into an agreement with CREDC to update the Land Study consistent with the requirements set forth in this RFP. Composite teams of individuals and/or firms may be formed to bring together the various disciplines necessary to provide the services described in this RFP. Having access to consultants with flexibility and various skill sets provides significant advantages and benefits. Firms of all sizes, depth, and capabilities are encouraged to submit proposals.

A. Background

CREDC is often the first point of contact for traded sector businesses looking to locate or expand in Clark County, Washington. The industrial/office/business park market segment is distinct from the commercial and residential markets. Not only is the price of land per square foot lower than for other segments, but these kind of businesses often have specific needs (e.g., access to rail, utilities, or freeway) and requirements that generally are not transferable from one site to another. While lands may be classified as “available,” environmental conditions, regulations, or infrastructure constraints may reduce the effective size, availability, or affordability of those lands for development.

In 2016, CREDC conducted an employment land study that identified employment sites and their varying state of readiness, which is an important baseline to inform policymakers and service providers as they respond to challenges replenishing the inventory of sites that support significant high-impact job density. The study, guided by a project advisory group and a consultant team, framed consensus on key definitions and industry-specific profiles. The study identified a total of 56 employment sites arranged in three tiers based on the estimated time needed to make each site development ready. The project also prepared a detailed development analysis that determined market opportunities and the economic impact for five sites from the inventory.

B. Specific requirements

The purpose of the project is to update and enhance CREDC’s existing employment land inventory work by building on terminology and consensus developed for the 2016 study (available at Specifically, the CREDC is looking to:

• Update inventory of employment sites: determine site-specific changes to development readiness, sites that should be removed from the inventory due to absorption or zone changes, and identify any new sites that should be added to the inventory within the tier structure.

• Quantify the total supply and readiness of large industry, business park, and office-industrial (excluding commercial) sites in Clark County, Washington.

• Analyze development of identified sites and update their tier rating (e.g., determine Tier III sites that have been developed, and former Tier I sites that have increased development readiness).

Report on jurisdictions’ initiatives to advance sites (e.g., capital improvement plans, policy development, etc.) by conducting stakeholder interviews and/or communicating directly with city and county planning and/or public works departments.

• Prepare recommendations that detail how sites could be made more attractive with further design, infrastructure investments, or regulatory amendments, as well as how public policy could inform investments to strategically plan and execute in order to yield best and earliest results, increasing the supply of development-ready sites.

• Identify strategies for aggregating sites with multiple owners.

• Consider sites otherwise development-ready or near development-ready yet located just outside of the Urban Growth Boundary, providing jurisdictions with strategic direction for UGB expansions.

• Pinpoint recommendations for highest and best uses for the Chelatchie Railroad.

• Provide a final report to inform the discussion on future tools and policies to maintain market-ready inventory of employment sites and provide information that can assist in future infrastructure planning, prioritization, and policy/regulatory rulemaking decisions.

• OPTIONAL (provide estimated fees per item)

o Deep dive analysis on select sites, including high and low intensity uses (2 layouts per site), infrastructure analysis, and economic benefit

analysis for each. Provide cost estimate per site.

o Utility gap analysis to determine infrastructure deficiencies surrounding employment sites throughout Clark County, Washington.

Funding for this project is expected come from multiple regional partners and the budget will depend on final scope of work and deliverables. Digital delivery of the final report is required and CREDC reserves the sole ownership rights of the deliverables.

C. Proposal Submission Requirements

Please prepare a proposal no longer than ten (10) pages that includes the following:

1. Executive Summary;

2. Proposed approach and timeline for delivering the services;

3. Experience and brief bio for proposed team members;

4. Experience working with regional companies or organizations to provide similar services requested in this document (include organization, name, title, phone, and email); and

5. Total cost including number of hours and hourly rate.

D. Selection Process

CREDC will evaluate and rank the overall strength of each proposal based on the following criteria and 100-point scale: (see PDF)

The CREDC reserves the right to:

• Require additional technical and pricing information

• Confer with respondents regarding all elements that comprise the respondent’s proposal

• Accept all, part, or none of any response

• Re-solicit for additional responses

A response may not be withdrawn or canceled for a period of 90 days following the submission deadline.

Respondents are expected to examine the instructions, specifications, terms, and conditions prior to submitting their response. Failure to do so will be at the respondent’s risk.

At CREDC’s request, respondents may be selected for in-person presentations.

All responses and related materials become property of CREDC.

CREDC reserves the right to reject any or all responses received.

E. Submission deadline and instructions

Proposals must be submitted electronically to Brittany Bagent at no later than COB on December 7, 2018. If you have any questions, please contact Brittany at the email above no later than November 30, 2018.

Preparing youth with skills and options is crucial for business

Max Ault, Interim President and Kevin Perkey, CEO, Workforce Southwest Washington

Educating and training our young adults – the workforce of the future – is vital to our regional economy.

In 2017-2019, Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) will invest more than $3.75 million in youth workforce education programs, including degree completion, career exploration, work-based learning and subsidized employment.

Programs funded through WSW help young adults attain educational goals, prepare for college or post-secondary training and entry into the workforce. These programs help to increase their competitiveness for in-demand careers while at the same time providing businesses with qualified, local employees.

In 2017, the CREDC Board of Directors voted to adopt Clark County’s Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, which identified three key goals – Expand the Existing Business Base, Support People and Create Place – to be implemented over the next five years. The plan also established a 20-year vision for Clark County: to be recognized as one of the most inclusive, healthy and amenity-rich communities in the country. Our goal is that with a continued focus on growing a diverse base of community-minded employers, talent (both inside and outside of the region) see greater opportunity in Clark County than anywhere else in the country.

Our community’s people are a foundational component of CREDC’s vision for the future of Clark County, it is why Support People was identified as one of the three key pillars in the strategy to accelerate economic growth in the region, which was developed by CREDC in collaboration with WSW and other regional workforce and education partners. To stay at the forefront of growth and innovation, it is vital that we prepare young people of Clark County with the right set of skills and career exploration opportunities necessary to enter the workforce.

Clark County has a rich history and continues to be a statewide leader in aligning education initiatives to current and future workforce needs of our area employers. With foundational leadership rooted in our K-20 system, CREDC and WSW have been collaborating with the regional education system for many years to ensure our future generations receive the education and training necessary to prepare them for a globally-competitive employment environment.

Highlighting this partnership and co-investment by both the public and private sectors is the Southwest Washington STEM Network, which has been integral in the development of countywide education programming and curriculum that exposes youth across our K-12 system to contemporary work environments, technologies and industry standards. Leading Career-Connected Learning and Career Pathways initiatives, the STEM Network connects educators and employers to educate and prepare students for jobs that will put them at the forefront as they graduate and either enter the workforce, continue on to a two- or four-year degree or go into a career and technical education pathway.

For young adults who are disconnected from the K-12 system and want to transition to work or further education, WSW’s new youth career center, NEXT, is a critical piece of our local strategy. At NEXT, which opened in August, young adults ages 16 to 24 can receive the support and training they need to reach their educational goals, learn about career pathways and explore employment opportunities. These youth in transition from traditional education to either the workforce or further education or training represent some of the greatest opportunities and challenges for growing and strengthening our local workforce. Not all youth are prepared to make this transition; those who struggle are a focus and priority for workforce development efforts.

The focus on education pathways could not be accomplished without strong and deeply-rooted partnerships between economic development and workforce development. With a diverse range of programs, WSW is a critical component of competitive and impactful economic development efforts. From launching the county’s first-ever centralized youth career center, NEXT, to supporting youth programming focused on summer employment to foundational programs supporting career exploration, work experience, career exposure, internships and career exploration – including Manufacturing Day, the annual Youth Employment Summit and Vancouver Tech Tours – WSW’s investments in programs that focus on supporting people is key to ensuring the success of CREDC’s Comprehensive Economic Development Plan.

We all play a role in developing a robust and competitive workforce to support the economic growth of our region. We encourage entrepreneurs and business professionals to get engaged and be part of the county-wide efforts to connect youth – from K-12 to higher ed – with career awareness and hands-on learning experiences as they explore the possibilities for their future. You play a pivotal role in developing a talented workforce. Get connected and help young people sharpen the skills they are gaining in the classroom with on-the-job experiences.

WEDA Summer Conference: Create the Spaces You Would Want to Visit

Brittany Bagent, Director of Strategy

The Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA) convened its annual summer conference in beautiful Prosser, Washington, back in August. WEDA aims to be the voice of economic development throughout Washington State, which was evident by the packed house representing Associate Development Organizations like the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC), staff from many cities and ports, private sector consultants and state officials.   

While the world of economic development is competitive in nature, the overall tone of the conference was positive and collaborative, with a resounding message that we all share one common belief – we’re stronger together. For example, we heard about how Yakima’s “brain gain” initiatives – which help retain and recruit competitive talent in the region – benefit the Port of Benton’s Vintner’s Village by driving more visitors to the area, and how FIRST Washington’s rural STEM programs feed directly into ensuring that Seattle’s workforce pipeline remains competitive.

We value this annual opportunity to learn from each other’s successes and ask thoughtful questions that help our communities grow and succeed.

Rebecca Kennedy, Long Range Planner, City of Vancouver, and I had the opportunity to present on creative placemaking. We were proud to share the work and initiatives that make Clark County a leader in the state providing a wide range of options for its residents and employees to be involved in placemaking efforts.


Creating quality places is one of the three strategic goals in the Clark County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan. Why are economic development practitioners throwing their weight behind placemaking efforts?  Because companies need talent and talent want to live and work in unique places. By supporting our public sector partners and prioritizing the effort of Creating Place responding to our community needs, we’re setting ourselves up for success in recruiting quality companies and talent to the region.

There are a number of active placemaking initiatives throughout Clark County, including: envisioning a new identity for Battle Ground via their “Navigators” project, enlivening spaces with community murals in Vancouver, creating multi-modal transportation options and programming unique events (Couve Cycle, anyone?).  Additionally, City of Vancouver staff have several high-impact, low-cost programs in their toolbox, including a pre-lease program where city staff from all permitting departments help businesses determine exactly what they need for tenant improvements, an adaptive reuse program that supports redevelopment and tenanting with a deep understanding of generating long term value and food truck assistance that activates empty parking lots and provides highly desirable amenities for employees around town.

A key takeaway from the conference is seeing how the strategies we’re implementing in Clark County can be emulated in communities across the state, which resonated with the WEDA attendees. “What should we focus on first?” one participant asked. Our answer? Create the space you’d want to visit, then we’ll visit too.

If you’d like to hear more about the important role quality of place plays in differentiating our region and why Creating Place is a strategic priority for CREDC, join us at our Fall Luncheon on October 16 from 11AM – 1PM at Warehouse 23. Register here.  

GROW Clark County: Women Founders

Insights from Four Trailblazing Entrepreneurs

By Monica Santos-Pinacho

CREDC’s second Grow Clark County event of the year featured a dynamic panel of women founders from across the region who shared stories about their journey starting and growing their businesses in Clark County – including the challenges they faced and what it took to innovate in a fast-changing environment.

The panel—moderated by CREDC Board of Directors Vice Chair and Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt Shareholder Lisa Lowe—included:

  • Allie Magyar, founder and CEO of event management software company Hubb. In just six years, Allie has led the company to achieve impressive regional recognition, including this year’s Technology Association of Oregon's Emerging Company of the Year, Vancouver Business Journal's Innovator of the Year and inclusion in Portland Business Journal's 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies.
  • Callie Christensen, co-founder of children’s toy company Slumberkins. Along with Kelly Oriard, they co-founded the company in 2015 and have reached great heights, including an appearance on Shark Tank and, most recently, landed a TV deal with The Jim Henson Company.
  • Miriam Kim, co-founder and COO of the leading developer and innovator of connected kitchen products Perfect Company. With 12 years at Intel under her belt, Miriam is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded two other successful companies: Ensequence and Pure Imagination.
  • Lisa Schauer, president of leadership development firm PointNorth Consulting. A champion of women in leadership roles, Lisa became the first female partner and the first female Board Director at MacKay Sposito and helped found H-RoC Political Action Committee to advance women leaders in Southwest Washington.

Below are key pieces of insight from this impressive group of Women Founders, highlighting their motivation, entrepreneurial spirit and advice for others looking to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey. We hope they inspire and motivate you as much as they did us!  

(Quotes have been slightly edited for brevity and clarity.)

Motivation and what keeps them going…

“82% of people don’t trust their bosses. 77% of people believe that integrity is one of the most important characteristics to have in a leader. Values have to be more than just words on a wall, they have to be behavior…As humans, we just want to connect. How do we find ways to connect, and how do we do [it] with a thread of ethics, integrity and character? That’s what really motivates me.” – Lisa

“When there are days when I feel I can’t get out of bed, I tell myself [‘you are very lucky to be pursuing this dream’].” – Miriam

“Being [both] educators and moms ourselves goes hand-in-hand with the passion that gets us out of bed every day. There are real issues that families face every day. Our mission is to normalize [important and often times tough] conversations and empower parents to be in the driver seat of their children’s social and emotional development.” – Callie

Entrepreneurship is a constant roller coaster – you may be on a total high one day then something comes in that rocks your world. Being able to deal with that constant churn [is critical]. When you are doing something you love, surrounded by people that believe in the same thing, it makes it easy to wake up and be inspired every day.” – Allie

What they wish they knew before starting their own business…

Know your vision and your mission to its core [early on], so that you can stay focused as opportunities come your way.” – Callie

“Patience and managing expectations. [Know] what is reasonable in year one versus what you hope to aspire in year five.”  – Lisa

“You will get a lot of no’s before you get a yes – and it hurts. Get yourself ready for it. Know that it is normal. All you need are a few yes’s – and you’ll get them.” – Miriam

“When I started doing this—at 18—I had this wild, crazy idea that things would get easier in the future, and I’ve been telling myself that for the last 20 years. I think it’s really important to realize there’s no perfect future. There will always be struggles, it’s always a different type of struggle. Be sure you take time to experience life and enjoy what you are doing…There is no perfect future state – its only right now, enjoy every stage.” – Allie

Lessons from the biggest challenges they had to overcome…

“As an entrepreneur, there is a false stigma that you are supposed to know everything, that you should be able to be the unicorn and scale... You have to be willing to ask for help. Utilize the amazing resources that we have in this area. There is nothing like the Vancouver-Portland area as support for early stage entrepreneurs. It’s okay to not know everything. [Be] willing to be vulnerable, open up and ask for help and support…”  – Allie

“In 2014, it became apparent that to get to the next level, we needed to raise money. [My husband] and I didn’t know how to that. You have to network, network, network.” – Miriam

“[Have] a transitioning mindset [where] we give ourselves some grace that it takes time to build a business and assemble the right team. [Manage] the difference between moving too quickly and being strategic enough to move at the pace that makes the most sense.” – Lisa

Understand fundraising basics and what it means to take on investors for a business – taking money from a VC versus and Angel [Fund]. As educators, we had no exposure to that at all. Business finance has been our biggest challenge, and understanding [the best options on] how to scale a business...” – Callie

Their take on the F word (failure)…

Failure is what has driven me to everything I have been able to do. There is nothing like failing – you have to give yourself a little moment [to] grieve it because it is a real thing, but you also have to look at it as an opportunity to [see] what [you] can learn from [it]...” – Allie

“Slumberkins is the only business I’ve ever owned or started. Initially, we took not winning Shark Tank very hard; however now when people ask us ‘did you win Shark Tank?’ we say, actually yes! The whole process made us better business owners – even filling the application. It was a great platform for us to tell our story and America really resonated with our mission and what we are trying to accomplish.” – Callie

“…There are failures that happen every day, and it’s how you recover. You have to surround yourself with people that will help lift you up – inside and outside your organization. [It’s a] combination of reflection and continuing to more forward – look positively at what [you] learned, what will [you do and not do] again.” – Lisa

If you sign up to be an entrepreneur, it’s a life of uncertainty. As long as you keep your eye on the price, somehow it always works out.” – Miriam

Final words of wisdom…

“What’s inspiring is when you [find] a passion for something.” – Miriam

“For me, women in leadership is an area that really gets me motivated. When I see a young leader, who has found their voice and they are using it, that keeps me motivated.” – Lisa

See the bigger vision and find the people who will make it possible. Your quality of life depends on who you surround yourself with. Recognize what they are good at and what you are not good at. You need grit and determination in the early days, then be able to identify who you need to help you scale the business.” – Callie

“There’s no better time than what’s in front of you. Be willing to take the leap when the opportunity presents itself and don’t be afraid.” – Allie

Special thank you to our sponsors Zenith Properties NW, Kaiser Permanente, iQ Credit Union and Opsahl Dawson for making the event possible and to Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt Shareholder Lisa Lowe for being a fantastic panel moderator.

Since 2015, GROW Clark County has served as a forum to showcase the broad range of businesses in the region, spotlighting the people driving innovation and empowering connections with entrepreneurs pushing the local economy forward. GROW Clark County aims to help build connections and open opportunities for the business community – from groundbreaking startups to thriving business looking to interact with other businesses and find resources that can help them achieve short and long-term business goals.

The next GROW Clark County event is coming up in September. Register for our mailing list here or follow us on facebook, twitter or LinkedIn for more details as soon as they become available.  

Home Depot continues to expand footprint

Vancouver isn’t the first place you think of when discussing Fortune 25 companies, but that hasn’t stopped one from quietly growing its local operations.

The Home Depot, which had more than $100 billion in revenues last year, has been growing locally through the QuoteCenter, a software company it purchased in 2013. Using the center as a technological solutions provider for the entire corporate operation, Home Depot is expanding its Vancouver footprint with a new building and hiring spree that could double its local workforce in coming years.

“People don’t really know about QuoteCenter in this community,” said Mike Lee, manager for corporate talent acquisition. “To have a $1.3 billion company in their backyard is really amazing, and few people know we’re here.”

The QuoteCenter got started about a decade ago as a specific product for buying customizable trusses, which are a component of attic construction. Trusses come in standard sizes, but most of them are customized to fit individual homes.

“Obviously you’re not going to design your home around a truss, so you need a way to shop for what you need,” Lee said.

Home Depot was selling trusses, but because of the customizable sizes, the company was also getting lots of errors and returns on products.

“It ended up being nothing more than expensive firewood for Home Depot,” Lee said.

Home Depot did a contractor search for a solution and ended up selecting the QuoteCenter to build the company’s software for truss sales, which led to an even closer relationship between the two businesses.
“We solved Home Depot’s truss problem,” Lee said.

Not long after, Home Depot realized it was also having problems with special orders, and it noticed it had a gap in services for professional contractors. So, Home Depot purchased the QuoteCenter and retooled it to become what is basically Home Depot’s professional software shop.

“They acquired us to build a system to solve their quote problem just like the truss problem, and today we’re a big part of Home Depot’s business,” Lee said.

Prior to purchasing the company, Home Depot industrial customers only had two ways to purchase items. They could go into the store, in which case they’d be subject to availability and price fluctuations, or they could go to and order in bulk, in which case they’d have no control over which specific vendor the materials were purchased from.

“The QuoteCenter is a third way for our customers,” Lee said. “It’s a software application that today makes up the lion’s share of contractor interactions with store associates. You can tell our Pro Desk what you need, and they use QuoteCenter to build a custom quote and facilitate a sale. You have control over a lot of things you don’t in the first two methods.”

With QuoteCenter, contractors can control which vendors are used and they can get competitive price estimates. They also have access to a variety of discounts and can control how product is delivered to the site, such as by boom truck, delivered to the curb or lifted up to a roof.

Now Home Depot, which is celebrating its 40th year in business, is using QuoteCenter as a key method to expand its business and pursue the lucrative professional contractor market.

Do-it-yourself revenues, once the company’s mainstay, have remained stable for Home Depot for several years. But that market is saturated and unlikely to grow much more, Lee said.

Prior to the software launch, contractors had been using the Home Depot’s website, but with little control over pricing or suppliers, it wasn’t convenient enough to be a major business draw for them. With QuoteCenter, that’s changed significantly, Lee said.

“Now the pro contractor is most likely to use our QuoteCenter,” Lee said. “And the pro contractor market share is huge. We’re talking a ginormous amount of money that far exceeds exponential growth of our annual revenues.”

In the past several years Home Depot has been positioning itself through acquisitions to grab up more of that pro contractor market. Along with the QuoteCenter, two years ago Home Depot bought a company called Interline, a home repair and maintenance products seller, for $2 billion, to beef up its product offerings.

And in 2017, Home Depot decided to grow the QuoteCenter’s operations in Vancouver. The company broke ground on a new building that October, which will include two floors of office space for about 215 people, Lee said.

“It’s a major deal,” Lee said. “It’s also a major deal for Home Depot to establish a corporate presence on the West Coast. Most operations are out of Atlanta.”

That presence is also a huge deal for the local economy, said Max Ault, interim president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC).

“We are very excited to see the continued growth of The Home Depot QuoteCenter in Vancouver,” Ault said. “It is rewarding to see the collaboration of both private- and public-sector partners proactively working to meet the needs of one of our region’s fastest growing companies. The Home Depot QuoteCenter’s continued investment in this region demonstrates that Clark County is a compelling choice for software and technology companies who value access to a talented workforce and a high quality of life.”

As part of Home Depot, the QuoteCenter has also seen rapid growth in recent years. In 2017, the QuoteCenter had $1.3 billion in revenues, up from $650 million in 2016 and $400 million in 2015, Lee said.

“We were at 50 employees a few years ago,” Lee said. “In the last 18 months we’ve grown to 108. Our new building will fit 215, and we’re just continuing to grow.”

The company expects to hire another 20 to 25 people locally this year, and is primarily looking for employees with experience in the software industry.

“We’re very competitive with the major and notable employers of this area,” he said of wages and benefits.
A grand opening ceremony will be held at the Home Depot QuoteCenter in Vancouver at a later date this year.

Clark County Main Street Day: Touring the Heart of our Cities

By: Brittany Bagent, Director of Strategy

Elevating the quality of place is a critical component of economic development as we work to recruit new companies and talent to our region. One of the three strategic goals in CREDC’s recently adopted Economic Development Plan is to lead efforts that help tell the story of place in Clark County.  

To that end, CREDC collaborated with Vancouver’s Downtown Association, Ridgefield Main Street and Downtown Camas Association to put together Main Street Day—the first event of its kind in the region— with the goal of highlighting the spaces that characterize our region and provide a forum for champions of those spaces to share ideas and best practices. We engaged all of our senses during the day's tour by listening, feeling, tasting (yes, Root Beer Floats and hops were involved) and seeing our downtowns in a whole new light.

Camas, Washington

Camas, Washington

CREDC Board Chair, Casey Wyckoff

CREDC Board Chair, Casey Wyckoff

Over the course of six hours aboard CTRAN’s Rosa Parks bus, city leaders and community champions toured six cities—Vancouver, Ridgefield, La Center, Battle Ground, Camas and Washougal—to learn about their unique history, vibrant spaces and initiatives that contribute to Clark County’s unparalleled quality of life.

The history of Clark County begins on Main Street. Vancouver’s Main Street was the first to be established in the county in 1857.
— Brad Richardson, Clark County Historical Museum

The day brought many ah-Ha moments. Some of the most notable include:

  • Understanding that cities have similar challenges and can leverage each other as resources.
  • Ideas for future efforts including, Main Street board of director swaps, city-to-city exchanges, participation at future conferences and more thoughtful and intentional collaboration,
  • Reinforcing messages that collaboration across the board is the key to success.
  • Concluding that what is good for one community is good for all Clark County communities. 

Overall, the tour made it clear that Clark County’s unique character is made up by the diverse range of amenities and vibrant spaces it offers – from Vancouver’s urban core, Ridgefield’s Americana charm, the beautiful tree-lined streets, unique boutiques and small-town charm of Camas, the vast display of local art in Washougal, the historic old town in Battle Ground to the trails and parks in La Center – and that it truly is the authenticity of each city that makes Clark County a great place to be!

We are committed to building on what makes Clark County a unique place to be, and you’ll see us continue to make it a priority as part of our new strategic plan.

Discover Clark County for yourself with Summer History Walking Tours and check out things to do in Vancouver, Camas, Ridgefield, Battle Ground, La Center and Washougal.

Here’s what folks said about Main Street Day:
Camas-Washougal Post Record
The Columbian
Vancouver Business Journal

Interim CREDC president eager to continue work

For Max Ault, taking the reins of the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is a bit like getting to pitch a season for the home team.

Ault, who took over on an interim basis for outgoing president and CEO Mike Bomar this month, has been interested in Clark County economic development since he was a kid growing up in Yacolt. He joined CREDC in 2014 as business development manager and was later promoted to executive vice president, a position he held until Bomar left on May 1 to become director of economic development at the Port of Vancouver.

In his year as interim president, while the CREDC board works on the national search for a replacement, Ault said he’s eager to continue to build on the organization’s successes.

“I think my vision is really to continue working with our public and private sector partners,” he said. “Clark County will continue to grow and we can help business accelerate that growth and bring in new opportunities and jobs. That really motivates me and the team moving forward.”

More specifically, Ault said he plans to continue to secure more land and pre-existing buildings for economic development use, while also recruiting new talent and businesses to the area to help local industry grow.

And that jells perfectly with what the board had in mind, said Casey Wyckoff, CREDC Board Chair.

“Max Ault has become synonymous with economic development in ClarkCounty,” Wyckoff said in a news release. “His hard work and dedication to this community has earned him a strong reputation among our many private, public and nonprofit partners. We look forward to his leadership in continuing the strong momentum toward accomplishing the goals of our Economic Development Plan.”

Ault has pretty much always been in Clark County. As a kid, his mom was a Battle Ground school teacher and his father was an entrepreneur. And in part it was their love of civic engagement that got him interested in helping the local economy.

“Early on, my parents taught me to get involved in the community,” he said.

Following on that early interest, Ault decided to get his bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Washington State University Vancouver. While there, he threw himself into the process, working as a student lobbyist in Olympia with Tim Probst, who served in the state House of Representatives from 2009 to 2013, on a variety of issues related to education and the economy.

“I really leveraged my interest in community involvement at WSU-V,” he said.

After college, he worked on academic programming with the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, which was later rebranded as the Cascade Forest Conservancy.

“It was a great civic engagement activity,” he said.

While there, he hired a new director, CFO and program staff – and that caught the eye of CREDC, he said.

“After that I was asked to apply for CREDC by various board members,” Ault said proudly.

That was a bit like getting a call up to the big leagues for the home team, he said.

“I had been tracking the organization since my junior year in college,” Ault said. “Coming in it felt like a group I had already gotten to know really well.”

It’s hard for him to pick a favorite moment amongst the many he’s had in the last four years, but he said defining the agency’s role and working with partners have been some of the most fun parts of his job.

“It’s been a lot of fun and also very stimulating helping startups,” he said, adding that CREDC currently has about 130 partnerships with existing businesses.

In his tenure, Ault has been a recipient of the General George C. Marshall Public Leadership Award. He’s also a current participant in Leadership Clark County, and holds a number of civic leadership positions with area nonprofits and educational institutions.

So far, he said the transition between him and Bomar has been going very smoothly.

“The transition’s been really, really good,” Ault said. “It’s been a true partnership with Mike and I. His move to the Port just shows how strong of a business community we have here. Mike will be a great partner for us to work with at the Port, and we’d like to get some key wins for the Port going forward.”

Ault didn’t comment on whether he wants the job full time, but said he feels honored to serve as interim CEO. The board will formally decide on a long-term President and CEO over the next 12 months.

“Right now we’re just focusing on the next year and on growing our diverse base,” Ault said. “I’m part of a team, and we’ll support whoever the board selects. Really, I’m just extremely excited.”

CREDC Hires New Director of Communications

VANCOUVER, Wash. (April 26th, 2018) – The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) announced today that it has hired Monica Santos-Pinacho as its new Director of Communications. In this role, Santos-Pinacho will lead CREDC’s internal and external communications strategies and platforms.

Santos-Pinacho joins the CREDC most recently from WE Communications in Portland, Ore., where she served as account manager for Microsoft’s Windows, Surface, Mixed Reality, and Education PR team. Previously, Santos-Pinacho held roles with Washington State University Vancouver and Clark College, developing and implementing programming supporting students and the community at-large. Her other prior experience includes four years as marketing manager assistant for the Clark County Event Center.

“We are extremely excited to have Monica join the team,” said CREDC interim President Max Ault. “Her passion, creativity, dynamic experience in integrated communications and strong commitment to the Southwest Washington community make her a tremendous asset that will help amplify CREDC’s mission and story both inside and outside of our region.”

Santos-Pinacho is a two-time LARGANT Scholar and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing from Washington State University Vancouver, where she received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Achievement and the Carson College of Business Award for Excellence.

“I am thrilled to join the dynamic team at the CREDC,” said Santos-Pinacho. “I am a passionate storyteller, and I look forward to being a part of an already thriving team that is dedicated to accelerating business growth and innovation in Clark County.”

Santos-Pinacho’s first day will be April 30th and will report directly to the Interim President, Max Ault.                                                                                   

Monica Headshot 2018.JPG

CREDC Appoints Ault as Interim President

VANCOUVER, Wash. (April 19th, 2018) – At a regular meeting Thursday morning, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) Board appointed Max Ault as Interim President beginning May 1st. The organization’s current President, Mike Bomar, will be transitioning to the Port of Vancouver, as their Director of Economic Development. Bomar has served as President since December of 2013.

Max Ault, currently the organization’s Executive Vice President, joined the team in 2014 as Business Development Manager. He has had increasing responsibilities in the organization over the past four years, including overseeing business growth initiatives, ranging from start-up assistance to major employer expansion projects, as well as representing the organization to the public, in addition to strategic partner and stakeholder groups when the President is not available.

“Max Ault has become synonymous with Economic Development in Clark County. His hard work and dedication to this community has earned him a strong reputation among our many private, public, and non-profit partners. We look forward to his leadership in continuing the strong momentum toward accomplishing the goals of our Economic Development Plan”, stated Casey Wyckoff, CREDC Board Chair.

“I’m honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve such a strong and engaged group of community leaders”, Ault said. “Our team depends on many others to make these plans work, and it’s great to feel the strong support for our mission.”

Ault will function as the chief executive officer (responsible for developing the Council’s strategic direction and work plan as adopted by the Board of Directors) and chief operating officer (responsible for implementing the Council’s work plan). The President reports to the Board of Directors and is supervised by the Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee. Ault will serve as Interim President for up to 12 months while the Board determines the options for a permanent replacement.

A lifelong resident of Clark County, Mr. Ault holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs from Washington State University Vancouver and resides in Vancouver. Ault is a recipient of the General George C. Marshall Public Leadership Award, current participant in Leadership Clark County, and holds a number of civic leadership positions with area nonprofits and educational institutions.


CREDC seeks request for proposal - Videographer



The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is seeking the assistance of a professional videographer for the creation of multiple videos for our event, Main Street Day, highlighting the different Main Street Communities in Clark County, Washington. This event will take place on July 13, 2018 with the alternate date of August 10, 2018. The videographer will need to be available to be onsite for both of those dates. Electronic proposals for the CREDC Main Street Day Videos will be accepted until May 4th, 2018 at 5:00 PM PDT.

Should any questions arise concerning the proposal, please contact Samantha Codi Walker, Marketing & Events Manager (

The CREDC reserves the right to accept or reject, in whole or part, any and all proposals.


The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is a 501(c)(4) public-private partnership of over 160 investors and strategic partners working together to advance the economic vitality of Clark County, Washington through business relocation, growth, and innovation.

As part of Clark County’s Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, the CREDC will lead placemaking strategies to support and promote the unique amenities and initiatives that define the brand and character of Clark County. The 2018 Main Street Day will kick-off this goal by celebrating our downtowns while creating video marketing collateral that will be used in talent and business recruitment strategies.

This bus tour will feature Clark County’s Main Street Communities documented by a videographer. We will travel to the downtown communities of Vancouver, Camas, Ridgefield, Washougal, Battle Ground, and La Center over the course of a business day.   


The CREDC is seeking a videographer with experience in filming events and conducting interviews. This process will involve filming the day’s events, amenities at each Main Street area, and interviewing key leaders for each Main Street. 


Deliverable 1 – Raw video footage of the (8 hour) day’s events, amenities of each Main Street area, and interviews.

Deliverable  2 – One 5-7 minute recap video of Main Street Day in its entirety, and one 1-2 minute video of the distinct amenities of each Main Street into one comprehensive video. 

Deliverable 3 – Create a separate Main Street video for each Main Street, each Main Street would be required to submit their requirements to the videographer.

Please include a separate budget number for each deliverable.

The scope of work should be completed by August 31, 2018.


You may find more information on each Main Street under the following CREDC website link:


Main Street Day Committee: A group of Main Street directors will convene to provide input on the videographer’s materials.


Submitted proposals must include a budget including a breakdown per task and each team member’s billable rates.


Samantha Codi Walker, Marketing & Events Manager
Columbia River Economic Development Council
805 Broadway Street, Suite 412
Vancouver, WA 98660


All clarifying questions and inquiries must be submitted in writing via email to
Samantha Codi Walker (


  • Cover letter
  • Qualifications
  • Previous work examples
  • Approach to meet deliverables
  • Budget
  • References
  • Deadline and delivery: One electronic copy must be submitted to Samantha Codi Walker at no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 4th, 2018.

Vancouver-based RealWear goes into training

The thing about making new products is that people often invent their own uses. For hardware company RealWear, a new partnership could be a legitimate crossover.

The Vancouver-based hardware company is in talks to supply its head-mounted tablet computer, the HMT-1, to the National Basketball Retired Players Association for its efforts to introduce basketball to children in rural or developing areas overseas.

Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams, who spent nine seasons in the National Basketball Association, joined RealWear’s advisory board in February. He is also president of the NBRPA’s Las Vegas chapter. On Thursday, he spoke at the GROW Clark County networking event about how the two organizations sync.

“RealWear needs a platform to unleash this tech,” he said. “Basketball players and alumni love to train kids. It probably happens every day.”

RealWear’s HMT-1 has so far mainly been pitched to augment heavy industries. It provides a hands-free, voice-controlled computer and camera that could, for example, show instruction manuals to workers in the field or link them with co-workers back at headquarters.

Williams floated a different idea: Use it to teach basketball fundamentals more effectively. The NBRPA regularly sends ambassadors to China, Williams said, but trips are spaced months apart and lessons are soon forgotten. Like doctors in telemedicine, coaches may be able to coach without being there.

The partnership is not official, but Williams said their goals “align.”

“It’s all about training the next generation of basketball players,” he said. After touting the device’s abilities and access to third-party applications that could translate languages on the fly, he added “This device needs to be in the hands of every NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL player across the globe. Soccer. You can take this and give it to a parent and tell them what to do.”

While that is not an industrial use in a typical sense, chief revenue officer Brian Hamilton said they are exploring how adaptive its technology is. He said the device benefits certain uses that span several industries, from auto mechanics to surgeons.

“We’re an industrial company, this is another industrial use case,” he said.

Questions were posed about whether users would experience motion sickness during, say, a basketball game. CEO and founder Andy Lowery said that is a problem that can be solved with software adjustments to make the video flow easier.

The HMT-1 is RealWear’s flagship product. The company moved from Silicon Valley to Vancouver last summer and recently raised $17 million in venture capital funding.

L.A. creative agency moves to Vancouver

The Columbian

An ambitious digital marketing concern from Los Angeles is the latest company to make Vancouver its new home base, and it plans to hit the ground running.

GTMA, formerly GoToMyApartment, is a 55-person marketing firm specializing in the booming business of multifamily housing. It builds websites, produces videos and writes marketing content for the likes of builders and property managers.

Its new headquarters as of March 1 is an office at the Columbia Tech Center, 1101 S.E. Tech Center Drive, Suite 155.

Moving to the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area drops the company into a market strong in development but without the challenges of doing business in California, said co-founder and CEO Joshua Swanson.

“The regulation in California, the expense, the cost of living was such that if we continued growing, we’d lose our strategic advantage there and lose some of our talent,” he said.

GTMA plans to immediately hire about 20 people in Vancouver and nearly 200 people over the next five years. The firm already does some business in the area, such as the NV Apartments and Block 17 Apartments in Northwest Portland.

The company offers a program that dispatches people to other, emerging markets for long stays. The firm, with offices in Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas, and Santa Cruz, Calif., said it tries to be authentic in knowing an area.

“We’re a virtual business. We can work from anywhere. But to tell a really good story, we need to have a hyper-local voice,” Swanson said. “Even shopping around Vancouver, I’ve found the divide between east county and west county. That kind of nuance you won’t find unless you live here.

“You need to understand your microbreweries and Burgervilles of the world that have a great local story and a history in the marketplace,” he added.

Founded in 2010, the company grew rapidly in Los Angeles and was named among the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine. But Swanson said California’s state income taxes and business taxes stifled growth.

When executives polled workers about where they could see themselves moving, Portland ranked high.

“I think Portland strikes a chord with Southern Californians because of the political environment, the cultural environment — just the entire living environment,” he said. “They see it as the sweater-wearing version of Los Angeles. My team being full of millennials, they liked the idea of living there.”

Mike Bomar, executive director of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, said they will fit in well with the construction companies around here.

Clark County has “really good builders and developers who want to be at the bleeding edge of how they sell their apartments, and I think that leads to (GTMA),” he said.

CREDC Announces 2018 Officers and New Board Members

At its annual meeting on January 24, 2018, the investors of the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) elected their new members to serve on the 2018 Board of Directors. The new Board then elected the 2018 officers and private sector Executive Committee members at a special Board meeting immediately following.     

“This CREDC Board is truly an amazing group of leaders that are dedicated and driven to see continued positive impact in our communities,” said Casey Wyckoff, President/Principal, LSW Architects and current CREDC Board Chair. “The organization is eager to pursue continued growth and success in 2018.”

CREDC’s 2018 officers leading the Board of Directors are:

  1. Chair (2018-2019): Casey Wyckoff, LSW Architects 
  2. Vice Chair (2018-2019): Lisa Lowe, Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt
  3. Immediate Past Chair (2018-2019): Greg Seifert, Biggs Insurance Services
  4. Treasurer (2018): Lisa Dow, Columbia Bank  
  5. Secretary (2018): Helen Devery, BergerABAM

The following individuals were elected to a three-year term on the CREDC Board of Directors:

1. Mike Bach, Frito-Lay
2. Gena Bailey, Kaiser Permanente
3. Ben Bagherpour, SEH America
4. Augusto Bassanini, United Grain Corp
5. Alan Garcia, NW Natural
6. Brian Knight, WRK Engineers
7. Mark Mantei, The Vancouver Clinic
8. Tracy Wilson, DeWils Industries

Four Directors Emeritus were voted in for a one-year term:

  1. Bryce Helgerson, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
  2. Steve Horenstein, Horenstein Law Group
  3. Matt Krueger, PacTrust
  4. Brian Wolfe, Brian H. Wolfe, P.C. 


Seven private sector members were elected to serve on the 2018 Executive Committee:

  1. Ben Bagherpour, SEH America
  2. Bill Dudley, Landerholm, P.S.
  3. Michelle Erickson, Umpqua Bank
  4. Matt Krueger, PacTrust
  5. Kevin Tapani, Tapani Inc
  6. Tracy Wilson, DeWils Industries
  7. Mei Wu, SmartRG

“We are truly excited about the caliber of our new and existing board members,” said Mike Bomar, President, CREDC. “As we take on an ambitious strategic plan, we appreciate our top business and community leaders really stepping up to help us achieve some lofty goals this year and beyond.”

The full list of the 2018 CREDC Board of Directors can be found HERE.